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ahead of the labor day weekend. earl downgraded to a category 3 storm but it is still packing winds of 125 miles an hour. mandatory evacuations have been ordered along the north carolina coast, barrier islands. fema's warning people to prepare for the worst. the war in iraq, at least combat operations, are over. the pentagon is launching "operation new dawn" day keeping 50,000 troops there to help iraq's military. the vice president and defense secretary are in iraq right now to see military control change hands. from baghdad to d.c., our cnn team has every angle covered for you this morning. also a surprise rise in how shoppers may be feeling about the economy. there are new numbers revealing consumer confidence is up. does this mean that better economic times could be ahead? we'll break it down for you. of course, the "a.m. fix" blog is up and running. join the live conversation right now. all you have to do go to
6:01 am we're following breaking news from the political world this morning. what could be called one of the biggest upsets of the year. overnight two-term alaska republican senator lisa murkowski conceded the republican primary to tea party flafrt joe miller. he was ahead by more than 1,600 votes after the counting of additional ballots. miller many say came from nowhere. he's a lawyer, a political newcomer. he had sarah palin's support as other tea party candidates did. >> on "american morning" we'll bring you the story like no one else can. cnn's shannon travis is in anchorage, alaska. here's his report. >> reporter: there's been a seismic shift in the political landscape here. republican senator lisa murkowski has conceded the senate gop primary to her challenger joe miller. >> for the good of the state of alaska, which is this is what this is all about, it is about the good for the state of
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alaska. i am now conceding the race for the republican nomination. i shared that information with mr. miller just a few moments ago. >> reporter: joe miller, you will remember, is the tea party express candidate who back in june when the tea party express endorsed him was a virtual unknown in this state. many people had not heard of him but the tea party express took a candidate who had very low name i.d., they poured in money, time, they poured in resources and helped push him toward the finish line. this will also be seen as a political victory for none other than sarah palin. sarah palin endorsed joe miller back again when he had very little name i.d. that earned a lot of local and national attention. so this will also be seen as sarah palin flexing her muscle yet again. shannon travis, cnn, anchorage, alaska. >> the interesting thing is senator murkowski was also part of a political dynasty. she was relatively popular in the state. of course her loss is now the tea party's gain. joe miller, by the way, the
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fifth tea party-backed candidate to win this year. he joins sharron angle of nevada, rand paul of kentucky, mike lee of utah and ken buck of colorado. these are victories that prove the tea party is becoming a major player in republican politics, often spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads f candidates. joe miller will be on cnn tonight. john king's guest. "john king usa," 7:00 right here on cnn. >> you don't see a lot of bearded senate candidates. >> he might be the first one. >> if he were to win, that would be the first bearded senator. i think in the old days they were bearded. i don't know much about hair. anyway, vice president biden and defense secretary robert gates will pass the baton to iraq's military at a special ceremony at 8:00 eastern this morning. we'll bring it to you live when it happens. also defense secretary robert gates is meeting with u.s. and iraqi forces. this is taking place at camp ramadi. this is video from just a short time ago. secretary gates telling american soldiers they'll still work with
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iraqis on kourcounterterrorism do a lot of training and advising. last night president obama paying tribute to the americans who served in the war. nearly 1 1/2 million troops. he didn't give any credit to former president bush's surge strategy. >> because of our troops, and civilians, and because of the resilience of the iraqi people, iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny. even though many challenges remain. so tonight i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. "operation iraqi freedom" is over and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. >> our team of reporters covering this story like only cnn can from all sides of the globe this morning. suzanne malveaux is at the white house. getting reaction from the administration. chris lawrence is with our american forces in camp victory
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in iraq. chris, start with you. you've been talking to troops there, as you said yesterday, although it sort of signals the formal end to combat operations, or guys that are out there in the field it certainly doesn't feel like they're out of combat. what does this mean to them today, from what you're hearing? >> reporter: we heard from defense secretary robert gates just a couple of hours ago. he was asked are we still at war in iraq? and he said no. i think that really kind of sums up, even though this day is symbolic and troops have sort of been transitioning to this new role, to think that we are no longer in active combat missions here, for some of these men who have been here off and on for the better part of seven years, this day is really taken on a lot of meaning. now it's official. american troops who once led missions now assist iraqi forces. what does september 1st mean to
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you? >> to me it means we've done well and we've worked ourself out of a job which is what we came here to do in the first place. >> it means that i'm not going to have to come back. >> reporter: september 1st means more work for some american flight crews. especially those flying blackhawks. >> we're one of the only support aircraft here since we had chinooks that were here. they just recently left. so it's pick up quite a bit for us. >> reporter: the first full day of "new dawn" is especially poin ye poignant for soldiers who have been here for years. >> i've been here through four tours. change i've seen made was remarkable. >> reporter: he was part of "invasion iraq" in 2003, then deployed twice during the most brutal fighting. >> it was really, really crazy for a couple years now. but now i look back at that and it is a breathtaking difference. >> it is a significant thing for a soldier to see iraqis he might
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have trained two years ago and they didn't have that much initiati initiative, they weren't that well trained, not that aggressive. now we're watching them, we're following them, he's getting paid back for the time he's spent here. >> more than 4,400 american troops died fighting "operation iraqi freedom," another 4,000 were wounded. when you look back at your experience in '05, '06, '07, was it worth it? >> absolutely. there are a lot of individuals that made the ultimate sacrifice. a lot of soldiers here lack soldier's faces and the people i worked with. if their sacrifice can be worth where we're going i think we're doing the right thing. >> reporter: a lot of soldiers told me, over the past seven years, those on their fourth deployment have spent the majority of their lives here in this country. over the last seven years. a lot of them feel very invested in iraq. some of them told me even when i
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deploy back home and i'm not going to come back here, i'm going to keep trying to find out what's going on because right now they've got some hope that what they did and the men that they saw killed here, it made some sort of difference. but if iraq slides back into chaos, a lot of them tell me it's really going to be hard to take once i'm back home. >> very understandable sentiment from people that gave so much. chris lawrence for us this morning, thanks so much. this is a tricky political landscape for the president to navigate. he's winding down one war in iraq, while ramping up another war in afghanistan, all with a backdrop of tough economic times. he's going to try and sell this idea to the american people. he started that last night. suzanne malveaux is live at the white house this morning. suzanne, the afghanistan war is wildly expensive, it is wildly unpopular. it is a tough sell at the best of times for the president. but he's had to deal with it right now. >> yeah, absolutely, ali. one of the things, i traveled
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with the president yesterday to ft. bliss, texas, visiting the troops. it is very clear that the president cares a great deal about the servicemen and women but this is a war-weary nation. let's face it, it is going to be a very difficult sell for the president. one thing that was notable last night is that in a nod to president bush's troop surge in iraq, he did mention the fact that that was going to be the one thing that would be important in afghanistan, a vehicle to end that war. take a listen. >> that's what the surge in iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. but, as was the case in iraq, we can't do for afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. >> kiran, ali, last night we already heard from the president talking about july as a potential window to take a look and see whether or not the forces, things are going well in afghanistan, whether or not it
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will be time to start pulling out those forces. he essentially is saying to the american people hold on here, bear with me, we're going to get through this. >> he was dealing initially with iraq, with the pull-out of troops from iraq, the end of combat nap has to involve afghanistan by defense figures. you heard the president talk about both of these but we are really covering the entire middle east today because the president is solding several big meetings today ahead of tomorrow's face-to-face meetings between benjamin netanyahu and mahmoud abbas. >> he made that connection last night, saying essentially this is all part of the same story here, providing peace, trying to get peace in the middle east. obviously they're trying to jump-start the direct talks. they'll be one-on-one meetings here at the white house. the president will meet with the principals, that will be the israel prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, the palestinian leader mahmoud abbas, also jordan's king abdullah, as well as egypt's president hosni mubarak. those will be one-on-one meetings. then he'll have a dinner at the
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white house with all four of them. all of this, yes, ali, before the real talks begin tomorrow. that's going to happen at the state department at the head of that secretary clinton. she's already met with the israeli leader and she's giving a preview in terms of what the u.s. position when it comes to going in. take a listen. >> we pledge to do all we can, always, to protect and defend the state of israel and to provide security to the israeli people. that is one of the paramount objectives that israel has that is united states supports in these negotiations. >> another objective, of course, is taking a look at the situation and trying to establish a palestinian state, a two-state solution. kiran, ali, many administrations before, i've covered bush as well as clinton, have tried this and have failed. this is president obama's attempt. >> suzanne, thanks very much. we'll be in touch with you as this develops. a busy few days in washington.
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11 minutes past the hour. just in for cnn, there is know in your twist in the accusation of laci peters rape in the wikileaks's allegation of rape. officials are confirming the investigation will be reopened saying there is reason to believe that a crime has been committed. we're also learning that the investigation involving alleged molestation by assange has also been extended. it was less than two weeks ago that the arrest warrant was issued, then hours later charges revoked. assange has denied any wrongdoing. he said he had had been warned by australian intelligence that there would be people trying to discredit him and the whistle-blower website. wikileaks, you may remember, last month published more than 70,000 secret military files about afghanistan. u.s. officials at the time called it one of the biggest security breaches in u.s. military history. >> this story remains very
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interesting because swedish police are sort of giving out little bits of information, then they pull it back, then give out little bits of information. so we have no idea what the context of the story is which makes it very difficult to journalists to follow up and find out whether these are allegations or whether somebody is trying to muscle julian assange. a lot of people very angry with him and his organization for coming out with those documents. >> and the fact that the swedish prosecutor revoke the charges a few hours later sort of gave kre dense to his argument that it was unfounded. but now again they're expanding it. we'll continue to follow. >> and have a live report on it in about 15 minutes or so. coming up, a monster form on the move. hurricane earl is tearing across the caribbean on a fast track for the u.s. east coast. rob marciano keeps a close eye on earl and joins us live from virginia beach. >> reporter: we're here where they're still plucking people out of the water from hurricane danielle and the rip currents and waves that that storm generated. hurricane watches are posted for this area and evacuations in
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some areas under way already. we'll have the latest forecast track on hurricane earl and the most news in the morning continues.
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welcome back to the most news in the morning. storm preparations are under way right now all along the east coast with hurricane earl fast approaching. earl is passing near the turks and caicos islands this morning. it's just been downgraded to a category 3 hurricane with 125-mile-an-hour winds. still pretty fast. >> oh, yeah. north carolina is on notice because of earl. authorities have ordered tourists and people living there to leave the barrier islands. one of them is accessible only by ferry. also cape look outnational seashore. earl is on track to brush by the carolina coast by tomorrow night and the hurricane watch is up along the outer banks as well. >> fema is urging people to stock up on supplies and have an evacuation plan at the ready. president obama will get an update first thing this morning on earl's progress and the emergency preparations under
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way. he'll take part in a conference call with fema director craig fugate. rob marciano is in virginia beach, virginia. looks can be deceiving because it looks calm behind you right now but this is the last weekend in the summer, right when earl will hit. a huge tourist spot, a ton of people out there. so what's the latest? >> reporter: well, you're right, this place is just jammed with people. danielle was hundreds of miles away and there are hundreds of rescues from dangerous seas over the weekend. that danger is going to continue as we go through this weekend. regardless of how close earl gets. the problem is the scary thing is is that earl's getting closer and until it makes that right-hand turn, nobody's relaxing, that's for sure. even though this is down to only a category 3, come on.
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125-mile-an-hour winds? nobody wants to see that directly impact land in north carolina or virginia. forecast track brings it very, very close. let's look at the hurricane watches that have been posted for this area, including virginia beach. the coast of virginia all the way down almost to the north carolina-south carolina border. these are where hurricane watches have been posted, likely warnings will be hoisted later on today for hurricane conditions that will be expected in the next 36 hours. here's a satellite imagery. we've seen just a little bit of weakening. of course that's great news. will that trend continue? big question. the national hurricane center does not think so. it thinks will t will remain a category 3 storm as it passes for makes landfall. it is moving to the northwest at about 16 miles an hour. currently 800 miles off the coast of cape hatteras and heading in this direction at that speed and direction. this forecast track will bring it very close to in area early friday morning, accelerate as it heads towards new england. new england is very close and still in the cone of uncertainty
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as a category 1 or 2 sform tormt passes over cape cod or the islands there late friday night, into early saturday morning. evacuations under way for one island preaching for potentially moving assets an personnel out of here if the forecast gets more ominous. there are a whole lot of bridges here. they shut those down when winds get over 35 miles an hour. with all the beachgoers here, that's been the huge issue. later on in the program we'll talk about the kind of dangers that swimmers have been enduring here. just yesterday alone they rescued 75 people that were struggling due to the rip currents. it was an absolutely spectacular day. it looked pretty calm. waves, sure. but it didn't look like there were any deadly currents out there. well sure enough, there are and there will continue to be right through the holiday weekend. regardless of how close earl
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gets, that's going to be the ongoing issue as we wrap up summer. >> stressed-out lifeguards. can you imagine? >> you're going to have more on the rip currents for us, rob. thanks very much. i'm here this weekend. i'm not going to come visit you i guess. because if this thing is heading toward us, i'll try and stay inland as much as possible. >> that's the other interest thing. we're not necessarily used to, here at least in this area and parts of the d.c./new york metro area to prepare for a hurricane. they're pros at it in north carolina and other places. >> you know, i was here a couple of weeks ago, we talked about this double-dip recession and all the bad economic news out there. get this -- consumer confidence actually grew in august. we've been getting this all wrong in what's behind this rise? are people feeling better about this economy than we've been saying? we'll talk about it when we come back. we're "minding your business."
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23 minutes past the hour. a sliver of good news when it comes to the economy. >> i wish it would happen when john is here. he think he's the gloomiest guy in the world. shoppers surprised experts and grew a little bit more confident about the recovery. joining us to talk about it, ryan mack, the president of o t optimum capital management. consumer confidence is not like a jobs report with real statistics, it is a sentimental matter. pempbl income was up and personal spending was up a little bit. that seems to fly in the face of everything we've been hearing.
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>> workers are being more productive. there is still a lot of unemployment out there. the overall economy is not necessarily looking that bleak. we still have the housing market to get through. it's going nowhere fast. we still have a lot of business lending that still has yet to be -- get kick-started as. >> caller:. then the whole jobless market right now is still a concern of mine. >> we were just talking about people getting accustomed to this new economy, behaving differently. >> saving more for the first time. you're seeing credit of course tightening so people aren't maxing out their credit cards. and so what i was wondering -- just contrarian viewpoint, do people feel it can't get any worse? 1 in 6 people in some sort of government poverty program, being food stamps, needing to put your family on medicaid, is there a confidence because people think it can't get any worse than this? >> america always self-corrects.
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from the business perspective, from the individual perspective, we learn how to adapt to various situations. right now businesses are cutting back drastically because right now they're getting 48,000 mortgages per month in terms of banks where they were getting 100,000 mortgages per month. they've corrected it themselves. individuals as well are saying the savings rate was negative for the first time in many years since 2005. now let me start saving a little bit more, being more fiscally responsible to start preparing for these rainy days. when you start doing that you start realizing it's really all not that bad and i do have some things i can do to empower myself, even in a hard economy. >> one thing that we talk about is, you've talked about this a lot, there's some value attached to all of this, when everything around you collapses, all this material stuff, you actually start to find joy in other things. >> exactly. this is a value economy, what i call, especially where i'm from in detroit, a lot of cities like that across the country, individuals are looking at this
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opportunity. people have needs. there's value in terms of starting your own business right now, going back to school. community colleges are flooded with individuals preparing themselves, getting additional education so they can put further value in making sure when the economy does turn around they're putting they will selves in a proper position to move themselves forward. >> this is the interesting thing, something that's happened quite quietly. we covered the foreclosure crisis but banks have starting helping homeowners modify as well, in fact double the rate the government's making homes affordable, i think 665,000 people -- or mortgages have been modified not through the government program but through private banks. is this something we'll slowly start to see correct itself as well, that people are getting fitted into mortgages that they can afford? >> people are realizing that -- individuals, a lot of them are just walking away from their homes, saying you know what? it is totally worth the risk if you're not going to work with me, i'm going to leave with you this additional debt. they're going to be saddled with
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it. banks are now saying we better get on the ball and help these individuals so we can keep receiving these interest payments and making our balance sheets more solid. >> better for the banks. wish they'd done it two or three years ago. great to see you, ryan mack, always a pleasure. president obama makes it official. the war in iraq is over. but what does that mean for our military as they focus to the front lines in afghanistan? we're live from the home of the army's screaming eagles, ft. campbell, kentucky. 27 minutes past the hour.
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30 minutes past the hour right now. we have some new information in to cnn right now, a development
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involving the editor and founder 69 whistle blowing website wikileaks. a little more than an hour ago swedish prosecutors again decided to reopen the investigation into allegations of rape against the person you are looking at there, julian assange, the founder of wikileaks. it was less than two weeks ago when sweden's chief prosecutor said assange was no longer wanted. this was just hours after announcing the rape and molestation allegations. why the about-face yet again? joining us on the phone from amsterdam, atika shubert. for people that aren't necessarily completely familiar with this case, atika, just get us up to date on what went on with assange as it relates to these charges. >> well basically earlier this month, apparently two women went to police with a complaint. we don't know exactly what their complaint was but clearly it went to the prosecutor's office. initially there was an investigation open and an arrest
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request put out for julian assange on one charge of rape, and another of molestation which is a swedish legal term which really means harassment. in southern of an americrt of a. that was first. hours later it was inexplicably dropped. then weeks later they've reopened the case. no one really knows what's happening with the swedish prosecutor's office but it does appear, according to the chief prosecutor in sweden, that there may be evidence of a crime having been committed anded that is why she is reopening the case against julian assange. we have not heard from julian assange at this point or his lawyer. clearly this is a big setback for him. he has maintained that he has done nothing wrong and that this is all part of a smear campaign. we'll have to wait and see what his lawyer or if julian assange makes a public statement later on today. >> it is interesting because he did speak to the arabic language channel al jazeera last week
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saying that it was a smear campaign against him. he also reportedly said he was warned by australian authorities that something could be drummed up against him as well because of the outrage over the leaks, some 70,000 classified documents from afghanistan that some of our officials, including our military officials said, compromised national security. could you sort of clarify what you mean when you talk about rape and molestation? when we think of it, we think of it as a sexual assault. is this two different incidents? is one rape and the other, as you said, molestation, or harassment? >> exactly. what we know is that it was two separate cases. two women came forward to the police, they did so together. they apparently compared stories, then went to the police. one of them is a case of now the prosecutor is saying a possible case of rape and they're reopening that case. the other is a charge of molestation which is really more like harassment. it doesn't necessarily involve
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any sexual violence and it could be anything like pushing someone to almost like stalking them, giving them repeat phone calls or coming to their house repeatedly unwantedly. so there are two different instances. we don't know the background to these instances, what exactly happened. we have not heard from either of the two women, or from julian assange, on what might have happened. so we're waiting to see if further tee tails will come out. the prosecutor's office has only said that they are reopening the investigation. they also have not said whether or not an arrest will be put out for julian assange. so we're -- there are still a lot more questions than answers on this and we'll just have to see what the from o or decides next. >> a atika shubert for us, thanks so much. just wire just crossing moments ago from cnn saying prosecutors are escalating that molestation charge to include a sexual component. again the details are not known.
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julian assange maintains through his lawyer to cnn that he's completely innocent of these allegations. >> it is interesting that the molestation doesn't mean what we think molestation means. rape does. nothing about that case is going to be simple. time for a check on this morning's top stories. federal officials warning everyone along the east coast to prepare to evacuate. hurricane earl packing winds up to 15 miles an ho25 miles an ho. it is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain by north carolina's outer banks by late thursday, early friday. with cape cod and the main shorelines potentially in its crosshairs this weekend. it was a stunner in alaska. it was just overnight senator lisa murkowski conceded her republican primary race against joe miller. he was a lawyer from fairbanks. not known. a newcomer to politics. he had the backing of tea party activists and sarah palin. miller's victory last night establishes him as the presumed favorite to capture the senate seat in a heavily republican
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state. president obama declaring a formal end to america's combat role in iraq saying it is time to turn the page and focus on the economy. the president addressed the nation from the oval office last night and thanked our troops for paying a huge price so the iraqis can begin to build a future. throughout that 7 1/2-year confli conflict, many american soldiers who served in iraq came from ft. campbell, home to the army's 101st airborne. better known by many as the screaming eagles. 101st is the only air assault division in the world. those soldiers are currently doing a lot of heavy lifting in afghanistan. for more on that, let's bring in our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. she is at the home of the screaming eagles this morning. good morning, barbara. >> reporter: -- >> we've got some audio problems with barbara. we'll fix those and get back to barbara momentarily at the home
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of the screaming eagles. >> it will be trog get their perspective. by announced with much fanfare that the end of combat operations in iraq taking place, but still a very active war in afghanistan. our guys and gals are still deploying. >> that's absolutely right. some people may be coming back and may be going back. the official ceremony by the way that marks the end of -- this is a confusing term to a lot of people. the end of u.s. combat operations in iraq. we're still going to have 50,000 troops there but there is going to be an actual handover ceremony today about 8:00 eastern, about an hour and a half from now. vice president biden, defense secretary robert gates. they're there for the handover. we don't know really -- it is not like hong kong or india where they go from one administration to another. this is kind of a who gets the keys to this car. >> it will be interesting to see how this happens and of course it is going to be live for you right here on "american morning" in the next hour and a half. meantime let's try to check in
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with barbara again. >> barbara, are you there? barbara's just going to try and sign her report to us. all right. we'll get barbara back. >> third time's a charm. >> she's got the 101st airborne. they could probably get it going for her. president obama, managing two wars, a wounded economy and a latest poll suggesting democrats are in for a pretty rough november. we'll break it all down with the former republican congressional congresswoman and we're also going to be talking about democratic strategist kiki maclean coming up. 38 minutes past the hour. we'll be right back.
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41 minutes past the hour.
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when you went to sleep last night, i don't know if you were following the alaska primaries, but a big upset and concession. attorney joe miller backed by sarah palin and the tea party knocking off a pretty popular incumbent senator, lisa murkowski, to capture alaska's republican primary. this makes miller the fifth tea party-backed candidate to win this year. some are asking though will all of this primary enthusiasm translate into a win in the general elections? i'm joined by democratic strategist kiki maclean in washington, and former republican congresswoman of new york susan molnarry. thanks for being with us this morning. susan, first, the big win in alaska for the tea party, a little-known candidate, a an attorney out of fairbanks, he was backed by sarah palin and he didn't have the support of course of the republican establishment that lisa murkowski did. pretty big upset and her concession overnight. what do you make of it all? >> there is this tea party enthusiasm that's in some areas
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throughout the united states. quite frankly, it is that enthusiasm that's separated the democrats from the republicans where the enthusiasm gap, as we call it, is 15% in favor of the republican party. more republicans are turning out in these primaries, all of which bodes well for us as we enter into the november elections. then when you start to get to the generic polling, this is going to be, unless something dramatically changes in the next nine weeks, this is going to be a watershed week for the republican party. >> right. but i do want to talk a little bit about that generic polling a second but i just want to ask, he didn't have the republican establishment support. it was sort after reluctant, okay, if he's git we support him. they came out with a stronger statement last night. but is this what republicans want, that their established candidates, incumbents, are getting picked off by lesser known and more conservative candidates in the primaries? >> i think what they want is the confidence of the american people. i think they want that enthusiasm. i think they want -- hard-fought
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primaries, if it brings out a lot of republicans and gets people excited and gets people revved up about coming out in the general election is all good. joe miller may not be senator lisa murkowski but he's a west point graduate, he's bronze star, first iraq, gulf war, a yale law school graduate. he is a pretty crennel candiddi candidate from his own regard. >> is this a good thing to see the tea party candidates winning in these primary elections and potentially going head-to-head in the general in 2010? >> well, look. what i think it means is that the dangerous place to be is in the role of an incumbent. my guess is if a lot of the tea party candidates carry in to the general election and win, that it's mr. boehner, the republican leader, who's probably the most endangered incumbent of all. this is in fact a tumultuous time for all incumbents. that leaves democrats overexposed, if you will, for lack of a better word because we
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are in the majority. but it is not a cakewalk for anybody else. i think what this means is these are not nationalized elections. if you're a campaign manager, running a congressional race in a location many district, it is about running in that district. whether you're republican or democrat, you're going to run as an individual candidate trying to localize your race as much as you can. that instance i think there will be room for democrats to do better than expected. all of the history and traditional algebra goes against democrats this year. i think as we get into the heart of the election in september and october, you'll hear from democrats, how to keep the economy in a stronger place that is it has been. when they go around bashing president obama, that's not the winning strategy. the people who are getting unseeded are seated unseated by people who are talking about the future. that does go to the intensity level to some degree susan was talking about. >> susan, the latest generic
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gallop polling shows the generic republican has a ten-point lead over democrats. gallop has this is pretty spot-on accurate in the 1994 race and in 2004 when it came to what happened in the general. when you go head-to-head generically, how do you translate that to ideas and people that are attracted in the general leak and candidates that have ideas that will make americans who right now feel we're not necessarily headed in the right direction by a lot of the polling, that republicans are the answer? >> well, what you are a's starting to see in the generics -- let me go back because i was there in '94 when we won the house for the first time in a generation. all indicators from a political standpoint and unfortunately for this country from an economic standpoint play better for this country. a generic poll, if the election were held today, would you vote for a republican or democrat, is very telling. in 1994 we were four points
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behind when we won the majority. a ten-point lead is huge. that being said, candidates do have to take that energy, that enthusiasm and that disillusionment with the democratic party that controls the senate and white house right now and translate it into real ideas for how to jump start this economy and create jobs. >> it says that the gop did have a single-digit lead, virtually in the same position, in 1994. that was in november when the republicans grabbed 54 seats. >> but at this point we were about four points behind even, i think. >> well, kiki, if it in fact changes hands in the house, what's the democrats' mission moving snoord obviously a lot of initiatives, agenda items, will be caught up in gridlock. >> i'd like to talk about the democratic party as a majority where it is today. i'll let the voters decide. there are two months of campaigns before i concede that point to susan. i also thought what was interesting out of that gallup
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poll where they talk about the generic ballot, only two months ago democrats were lieding. any pollster in this season, the unique level of nutumultuousnes i think to move this sluggish recovery forward you'll need people engaging in the conversation that voters care about and that want to be involved in that. i think people are tired, tired from the struggles and a lot of avenues of their life. what they want to hear is not a bunch of fighting over personalities and political name calling but they do want to hear about conversations and ideas for the future. i think that matters this year more than ever before. >> i think a lot more people will be listening and paying attention to what's being said on both sides of the aisle. kiki maclean, susan molinari, thanks to both of you this morning. hurricane earl is weaker now but still packing quite a punch. 125 miles an hour.
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that's not a small storm. as it approaches, rip currents up and down the east coast are putting swimmers in danger. rob marciano is live in virginia beach just ahead. 48 minutes after the hour.
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50 minutes past the hour. we're following earl, hurricane earl, downgraded slightly this
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morning but still certainly something to be watchful of especially if you live along the east coast. they are preparing right now all along the east coast for hurricane earl's approach. he's right now -- he, i mean the storm. they gave him a boy name. earl's passing near the turks and caicos islands this morning, a category 3 with 15-mile-an-hour winds. >> it's been downgraded to category 3 but 125 miles an hour is still a lot of wind. the impact is already being felt, rough surf, dangerous rip currents in particular are making beaches off-limits to swimmers. just in time for of course that big labor day weekend. some people hope to get their last swim in. rob marciano is live in virginia beach with more. good morning, rob. >> reporter: good morning, guys. it is just human nature to think it is just a category 3 storm. but it is 125-mile-an-hour storm and it is a large storm. you get got to remember, guys, danielle was a much weaker storm, much further away and the waves generated by danielle over the weekend spurred hundreds of rescues from waters like this
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over the weekend. but now we've got three storms out there, including earl. you better believe that the lifeguards around here have their hands full. beautiful day today. looks relatively safe out there but you're pulling people out of the water. >> gorgeous day today. we came out hoping we wouldn't have to put the red flags up. within the first five minutes on the stands, we made one rescue already. waves started to pick up. saw pretty large intermitt tent swells came in. we put the red flags back up, went to a waist-deep restriction for the day. still about 15 or 16 rescues. >> tried to reroute the waves. it was taking us out further and further. my wife was lot we're not making any progress. next thing we know we saw the lifeguards coming up. i wasn't actually scared until the lifeguards got up and were trying to get us in.
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then there was two of them and two of us and we were still getting pulled out. >> as we saw on saturday when we went from a high tide into a low tide situation, the tide was going out, that water that was sucking out just pulled and pulled and pulled. but that was danielle on the other side of bermuda. this is earl, stronger, stronger than danielle and a whole heck of a lot closer. we're going to really be on our game this week. >> reporter: it has been such a hot summer in this part of the country that people have just been flocking to the beach. the other thing, with the economy, this is a pretty cheap vacation. it is free to come to the beach. you don't have to stay at the fanciest hotels to enjoy the water. people get out there, even on a beautiful morning like this where it looks relatively calm with the storms churning out there, rip currents are high and you get stuck in one it is easier said than done. you're supposed to swim parallel to the shorelines and calmly swim your way back in away from the current. but that's difficult to do. regardless, guys, i think they'll have their hands more
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full than just battling rip currents this weekend because the forecast for -- over the next couple days, because the forecast for earl is bringing it much closer than we were hoping. it is a major category 3 storm. much worse than just swimmers. >> rob, of course in the outer banks sort of old hat, they know what to do. obviously not to diminish what they go through. but for people that live up and down parts of the eastern seaboard a little bit more north, when somebody like craig fugate from fema says prep for the hurricane, a lot of people are going, okay, what do i do? >> reporter: exactly. so you've got kind of a double whammy. not only do you have a storm coming up the coastline but you have a lot of people who are here that don't really have any hurricane experience. i think once warnings go up later on this afternoon and we anticipate that happening, there might even be more evacuations ordered. so this is going to ramp up pretty quickly as far as the serious nature of this storm. >> rob, thanks very much.
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we'll keep tracking this storm and seeing where it is heading up the east coast. let's remember, it is downgraded to a 3. that's still a very big storm. 125 miles per hour. >> and the fact that it is tracking closer to the coast is also troublesome. also we're going to be in camp victory. chris lawrence is there in iraq. the handover officially taking place. actually in just an hour. he'll get reaction from the troops who are still there. 50,000. 55 minutes past the hour. inking? if you ride drunk, you will get caught... and you will get arrested. but what we can do is arm ourselves for the ones we love with a flu shot from walgreens. ♪ [ coughs ] [ female announcer ] with the most pharmacists certified to immunize... [ sneezes ] ...and walk-ins welcome everyday, we're making it easy for everyone to get their flu shot, no matter how small their motivation may be. ♪
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good morning to you. glad you are with us on this wednesday, ss tept 1st. i'm kiran chetry. >> i'm ali velshi. very pleased to be with you. john roberts is off. i've been trying to get him for take a day off for a while. here come earl. the hurricane. just downgraded to a category 3. still posing a threat to the east coast of the united states. evacuations are under way along north carolina's outer banks. fema is warning people from the carolinas on up to prepare for the worst. rob marciano is on the beach tracking earl's path for us. president obama makes it official. the war in iraq is over. the pentagon launching "operation new dawn" which would mean keeping 50,000 troops there to assist iraq's military an advise iraq's military. the vice president, joe biden, as well as defense chief robert gates are in iraq right now. they'll be overseeing the military changing hands. we'll go live to baghdad and
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break it down with a panel of experts this morning. it is the new normal, the worst recession since the great depression has forced americans to change their ways right to the core. today find out how american families short on cash are making it work. we begin with a developing story on what could be called one of the biggest political upsets of the year. overnight, two-term alaska republican senator lisa murkowski conceded the republican primary election to a little-known candidate, tea party-back joe miller. murkowski has been down by 1,600 votes after counting the ballots since last week's primary. >> she did not endorse miller during her concession speech last night. miller is a lawyer, he's an afghanistan veteran and he's another political newcomer who had backing from the tea party, and he had sarah palin's support. >> his victory is a big win for the tea party. he's now the fifth candidate that's had the backing of this movement to win this year. he joins sharron angle of nevada, rand paul of kentucky,
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mike lee of utah, and ken buck of colorado. these are victories that proved the tea party is a major player in republican politics, often spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads for the candidates. we'll hear from joe miller tonight. he'll be a guest on "john king usa," 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. change of command in iraq this morning. we're an hour away from a ceremony. vice president biden, defense secretary robert gates will pass the baton to iraq's military at a special ceremony about an hour from now. we'll bring it to you live when it happens. >> meantime, defense chief robert gates met with u.s. and iraqi forces at camp ramadi, just a short time ago. secretary gates told american soldiers that they're still going to work with iraqis on counterterrorism and training as well as advising. last night, president obama paid tribute to the americans who served in the war. nearly 1 1/2 million troops. he did not give credit though to president bush's surge strategy that some say may have helped the result that we've got today.
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>> because of our troops and civilians, and because of the resilience of the iraqi people, iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny. even though many challenges remain. so tonight i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. "operation iraqi freedom" is over and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. >> so what does that mean for u.s. soldiers that are still on the ground? our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence, is tracking this in iraq. he's at camp victory in baghdad talking with u.s. forces about what the end of the war really means for them. >> now it is official. american troops who once led missions now assist iraqi forces. what does september 1st mean to you? >> to me it means we've done well and we've worked ourself out of the job which is what we
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came here to do in the first place. >> but it means more work for some american flight crews. >> we had chinooks that were just here but they recently left so it's picked up quite a bit for us. >> reporter: the first full day of "new dawn" is poignant for soldiers who went through years of fighting "operation iraqi freedom." >> i've been here four hours. the change i've seen is remarkable. >> reporter: he was part of the attack in 2003. >> it was really crazy for a couple years there. but now i look back at that and
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it is a breathtaking difference. >> it is a significant thing for a soldier to see iraqis he might have trained two years ago and they didn't have that much initiative, they weren't that well trained, not that aggressive. now we're watching them, we're following them, he's getting paid back for the time he's spent here. >> reporter: more than 4,400 american troopd dis died fighti "operation iraqi freedom," another 4,000 were wounded. when you look back at your experience in '05, '06, '07, was it worth it? >> absolutely. there are a lot of individuals that made the ultimate sacrifice. soldiers' faces and people i worked with, and if their sacrifice can be worth where we're going i think we're doing the right thing. >> reporter: we spoke to several soldiers who are now on their fourth deployment here in iraq. over the past seven years they have spent the majority of their lives here in this country in that war. so to them, a lot of them are telling us they feel so invested in what happens here, even after they go back home, and they know
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there are mo more deployments coming to iraq, some of them told me even when i deploy back home and i'm not going to come back here, i'm going to keep trying to find out what's going on because right now they've got some hope that what they did and the men that they saw killed here, it made some sort of difference. if they slide back into chaos, it will be devastating after all they've seen here and all the friends lost. >> we'll see how it all plays out today, we're less than an hour away from the official handover. chris lawrence from camp victory in baghdad, thanks. cnn's senior political analyst david gergen says he found president obama's oval office address a little bit perplexing. he'll be here five months from now to explain for why. at 7:50 we'll talk more about the military handover with our panel of experts, former native supreme allied commander, retired george joulwan, and bobby ghosh, and also from kenneth pollack.
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now to the powerful hurricane bearing down on the nation's east coast. earl has been downgraded to a category 3 hurricane but it is packing plenty of punch with top winds of 125 miles an hour. the storm is passing east of the turks and caicos islands this morning, could reach the carolina coast by tomorrow morning. >> rob is tracking it all for us. we'll check in with him. meantime, authorities in north carolina have ordered tourists and residents to leave the barrier islands which is accessible only by ferry. also cape lookout national seashore. a hurricane watch is up along the outer banks already. fema is urging people to stock up on supplies and have an evacuation plan. president obama will get an update this morning on earl's progress and emergency preparations. he'll take part in a conference call with fema director craig fugate. >> we'll go live to rob marciano in virginia beach, virginia where normally all we'd be talking about is it is the end of summer, labor day weekend,
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tons of tourists will pack that popular destination spot. but now as earl is getting closer and looming, there are a lot of concerns this morning. >> reporter: certainly a lot of concern. there is a lot of people down here. even as sun comes up early in the morning this place is jamming. good waves for surfers behind me and a cool, relatively cool water at the end of a very, very hot summer. so beaches up and down the east coast are lined with tourists and locals alike just trying to cool off and take in the last bits of summer. problem is we've got a hurricane brewing. not just one but we had two. hurricane danielle rolled in some waves and rip currents, and now earl which is much bigger, much stronger an is going to be coming much closer, that's the big issue here. and it's forecast to come a little bit farther west than they woo hoping. so hurricane watches have been posted last night for right here across the coastline of virginia, all the way down the north carolina coastline, almost to the south carolina border for hurricane conditions that are expected, or at least possible here, within the next 48 hours,
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my guess is they'll update those to warnings before the day is done. category 3 storm with 125-mile-an-hour winds. satellite signature, it is a beast. 200 miles due to tropical storm-force go out and 70 miles an hour hurricane-force winds go out. it is strong and it is aimed right for the carolina coastline. that's the scary thing about this. we know it will make a right turn. it is just a matter of when. right now it looks like it is not going to really make that right turn until it passes the north carolina-virginia border. that means it is a distinct possibility that at least the outer banks sees a direct hit from this. also a distinct possibility that cape cod and the islands of massachusetts see a direct hit from this as a category 2 storm. there's the forecast track. it will be is being second ratirate i -- is being second ra -- accelerating as it goes north and east. the coast guard is also ramping up their preparations for this.
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lifeguards will be out in full force today a and right through the weekend. even after this storm passes, ali and kiran, rip currents are going to be an issue right through this holiday weekend. >> absolutely. you got to watch out if you're in the water. if you can make those preparations, make sure any tree limbs, shoring things up around your home and outside your home. all of this is something that some people have not had to deal with in a long time. rob marciano for us, thanks so much. a new twist into the accusation of rape against wikileaks web side founder julian assange. the swedish prosecutor's office confirming the investigation will be re-opened. officials say there is reason to believe a crime has been committed. we're also learning the investigation involving alleged molestation has been extended, although atika shubert did tell us, molestation under swedish law means something more akin to harassment than the sexual molestation we may equate it with. it was less than two weeks ago an arrest warrant was issued for assange. but then just hours later the
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charges were revoked. assange told the network al jazeera last week the allegations were "clearly a smear campaign. american families have been adapting to what we call a new normal in this financial crisis. making less money. trying to save more and people living under one roof. the extended family coming back. we'll break it all down about what it means and what it means for our future. president obama makes it official. the war in iraq is over. what does that mean for our military as they turn the focus to the front lines in afghanistan? we're live from the home of the army's screaming eagles, ft. campbell, kentucky. it is ten minutes past the hour. ( revving, siren blares )
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i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. "operation iraqi freedom" is over. and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.
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>> that was president obama addressing the nation last night. within the hour, within this hour, vice president biden will preside over an historic change of command ceremony in baghdad. >> yeah. still, the president doesn't seem to have much to celebrate. the economy of course as we know is still in the tank. he's escalating a very unpopular war in afghanistan. there are new polls suggesting that democrats could be in for a real beating in november. >> how did the president's oval office address play? cnn's senior political analyst and former presidential advisor david gergen breaks it down for us this morning. excellent to see you again, david, in person. david, the oval office is reserved for the most important of addresses by the president. usually it is something highly specific like the end of combat operations in iraq. but the president broadened that out last night. he talked about afghanistan, which makes sense. then he started talking about thanking the soldiers. then he talked about how americans have to do what the soldiers have done, then he started talking about the
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economy. it started to feel like a little bit of a ministate of the union address to the end of it. give us some sense for those who didn't watch the whole thing what you took out of that address last night. >> well, i took some confusion out of it. i thought the president spoke well, as he always does. i think most americans will be very relieved that the combat mission is over and i think they will salute him for keeping a promise. at the same time i thought it was covering too many things. most americans would prefer the president say how we're getting out of this economic mess, not how we're getting out of iraq or afghanistan. so in that sense a lot of people are going, what's this all about? why isn't he talking to me about my job or my mortgage as opposed to this? i just want to say on the foreign policy side, i was troubled by the speech in one sense, and that is, yes, we just cannot be open-ended. but normally what we hear from a
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commander in chief is, we are going to do the following three things, and then we are going to leave. what we heard last night was we are going to leave and we're turning it over to them. what does that mean? no one knows. whether iraq's going to be able to stand on its own two feet when this is over. no one knows whether afghanistan will. the answer is not about success and responsibility, it is about we are a out of here. >> however, according to the polling -- i know people don't do things just based on polls, people want him to say the exact same thing with afghanistan. at the same time that he was talking about iraq ending, at least the u.s. combat mission there ending, afghanistan is still going strong and there's not necessarily a clear indication for most people of what our definition of success is in that country as well. so where does that leave him in terms of these wildly unpopular wars? >> i think iraq is one down willy-nilly. we don't know what we're leaving
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behind there. hopefully the government will come together and the violence will subside. but on afghanistan, i must say i think -- the president deserves credit for saying we're going to do -- this is not going to be a massive departure come summer of next year. we may do it gradually depending on conditions on the ground. but again i think he left it ambiguous about what we're seeking in afghanistan, why are we going to ask people to die here, american soldiers to die. i don't think it was very clear. >> david, the -- on the economy, the -- there's been a lot of talk in the last few weeks. you've been asked questions about a double-dipped recession. we've heard precious little from the administration. then on monday after the weekly economic briefing, the president came out to say a few words and it was reminisce sent of when you and i used to cover what was going on in the recession when president bush would come out and say a few words. he'd leave and again you'd think, what was that?
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>> i thought there was that quality. basically i think they're out of ammunition. the fed has done what it can do. it may come back in and do something on mortgages. but it can't lower interest rates anymore. the fed, bernanke said over the weekend in the grand tetons basically monetary policy can't do it all, we got to look to fiscal policy. yet when the president came out on monday it was like my hands are tied, i can maybe do some small things, let's do some small things but the cupboard was bare in terms of big, bold exciting ideas. i think that's what americans are looking for, something creative. it doesn't spend the bank. >> does the tea party have those ideas? because we saw the incumbent unseated in the primary in eye lass ka. >> that was a very important election. very important election. we've got at least five, some would say six candidates in the republican party who -- if you count marco rubio. then you have alaska now with a tea party candidate. utah. you got colorado. you've got nevada.
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you've got kentucky. that's a lot. what that means is there is this alienation that fueled the tea party movement, fueled the big rally in washington this past week. but we're also soon going to be talking about how is president obama going to govern, can he get along with congress. he'll have at least three, four, five new jim demints in the senate. those -- jim demint has been notably a strong conservative who will resist a lot of what the president stands for who is not interested in compromising on some of these fundamentals. i don't know where we go on the deficit, for example, if we get a lot of people in there who are not willing to compromise -- or they're willing to cut spending, but are they going to willing o to -- listen, this is a -- one of the most interesting times we're going through as a country as the transition, the
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challenges are really important. they're really important. >> david gergen, great to see you as always. we're talking about a new normal, what is it exactly, from your home to your place of employment. if you're lucky enough to have a job right now. find out how the recession is changing the live and perhaps the perspective and goeals of average americans. 20 minutes past the hour.
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welcome back to the most news in the morning. we are "minding your business." while we wait for the dust to settle from the current economic crisis, americans are finding ways to make do with less, some call it the new normal. last year we called it the new
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frug frugality. the new frugality was just about sort of curtailing some of your purchases and doing things like that. we've moved into a whole nother area. one of the places we see this is that the extended families, people moving in with their parents, people moving in with their kids. >> of course. there are fewer people forming new households today because of the recession. instead of going out and buying your own home or your own apartment, we're seeing people double up with family and friends. recent college grads are heading back to mom and dad's house. people who have lost their homes to a foreclosure or maybe they've lost there are jobs and are moving back with family and friends. even the divorce rate is down. >> it is too expensive to do so. >> it is not just that these things are happening, it is is that the stigma is disappearing from it. kids going back to college, or parents taking their papts back in, it is now becoming sort of culturally acceptable. that's the part that's the new norm. >> of course there are some social changes that are going on
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as well. the marriage rate is older. whereas someone may not have wanted to move in with mom and dad when they had a spouse, well, if they're 25 or 28 and single, it is a little bit more acceptable. >> talk about another theme. some time last fall things changed. there was a monumental shift in america. there were more women in the workforce than men. >> one-third of women today are actually earning more than their husbands. it's a trend that's been growing for a while but the recession has exacerbated it because men were harder hit than women. going into the recession unemployment rates were about equal. but today it is approaching 10% for men and 8% for women. there are a lot of dynamics that are changing as that power changes. on an emotional level and also on a financial level. >> we haven't seen that dynamic since world war ii where there
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were actually more women in the fo workforce than men. manufacturing and construction jobs are disappearance. >> exactly. women tepid to nd to be in like care and education, things that haven't been hit so hard. >> making it in a man's world. see how one woman is breaking through in the male dominated construction industry. breaking through that glass ceiling to help america rebuild ceiling to help america rebuild at ground zero. with the best coverage in america
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we were just talking about -- welcome back, by the way, to the most news in the morning. 26 minutes after the hour. hour top stories are only minutes away. i was just yammering on, as i often am, about how women are doing better in this recession than men are. >> you were telling me in the morning it was largely a manufacturing and male-dominated recession. >> those are jobs that have disappeared. we'll have a great story with deb feyerick in a moment about the construction industry dominated by men by a woman who's sort of breaking through a glass ceiling. in fact why don't we talk about that now? >> this was a well oiled machine until i got here. i just messed up everybody's morning. nice to see you.
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i'm ali velshi. >> a lot of times when we talk about women in construction we think of -- okay, they're in the administrative roles, not necessarily out there building. >> absolutely. that's what's so interesting. women really are looking at jobs that they haven't held traditionally. and construction is a great job but it is physically demanding. it requires a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of sweating and long, long hours. yet more an more women are saying they want in. meet 38-year-old alex co, an's par paren, a modern dancing, still she's finding hopeful with her new profession. >> you have to be able to duck the rebar and watch your step and get out of someone's way an still be working. it always feels like a dance to me. >> reporter: when you tell people that you work in construction and that you're building here at the world trade center site, do they believe
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you? >> i have met some people who are really surprised. >> reporter: women make up just 2.3% of construction laborers. on any given day, coveles skchlt i is 1 of only 10 women morninging alongside 1,500 men. some trained by their fathers and grandfathers. why do the women do it? for the same reason as men. the pay is good, there is a really strong union. and once you prove yourself, there are guys who will watch your back. >> these walls here are going to be solid concrete. >> reporter: a year ago alex knew little about construction, much less dock building. that changed after a free six-week course run by the group nontraditional employment for women, turning women into skilled painters, plumbers, electricians and carpenters, to name a few. >> we place about 75% of our graduates, but it's been a little tougher over the last year or so because of the
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economy. >> reporter: 500 people will graduate from the program this year. a lot stronger, says emily, than when they started. >> we started, for example, the mud buck at say 40 pounds. now it is 65 pounds. we're getting there. >> reporter: by bringing a woman on, how does it change the dynamics? >> having women on the job site really brings a balance. women have a lot of skills. we hear constantly about women's organizational skills, women's ability to work very hard and be eager to do any work. >> there's such diversity in the work itself that if you're smart and you pay attention you can -- think there is place for everyone here. >> reporter: the supervisor has trained lots of male apprentices. but alex, he says, is no different. >> i wouldn't say that she brings anything different. maybe longer hair. that's about it. >> reporter: do any of the guys feel that the women are taking
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jobs away from them? >> no, not at all. not at all. >> i'm not here to steal anybody's job. i want to do the work if i can do it. i don't want to just like -- i'm not trying to coast along on union wages and just be like the token minority or anything. i have spent many years trying to find a place in this world. and this is the closest i've come. >> now i was surprised at just how many women i saw working down at ground zero. in part, companies that are hired to rebuild the site are actually required to have a certain number of females. the women have settled in. alex loves working with the -- small club which is the size after shipping container where they take their hardhats out, let their hair down. but the women clearly look out for each other but they're still very much in the minority.
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>> you said there's also remarkable progress to be noted at ground zero. >> for some years for those of us who have lived and been there every year, it's been just this empty hole. when we first did that story there were a lot of sort of empty spaces. going back there just a couple of months -- we'll have a couple of pieces in the next few months for you, to honor the anniversary, there's been so much progress. new flooring. it is just going up and it is going up really, really quickly. it's remarkable. it is a privilege to actually be down at that site. >> so much stuff going on around it. i heard something about a mosque or something being built. >> did you hear that story? >> debonair rick, thanks so much. 32 minutes past the hour. hurricane earl is tracking for a direct hit according to rob marciano on north carolina, virginia border. right now it has weakened slightly to a category 3 storm but it is still strong enough to cause a lot of damage. winds topping 125 miles an hour.
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there are mandatory evacuations ordered for two of north carolina's barrier islands as earl moves steady toward the nation's east coast. it could reach the carolinas by tomorrow. upset in alaska. senator lisa murkowski conceding that her republican primary race is over. she conceded to tea party favorite joe miller. miller was a virtual unknown until he got the backing of sarah palin. miller's now considered the favorite in the heavily republican state's november election. president obama makes it official. the combat operations in iraq are over. that came at a prime time oval office address to the nation last night. the president paid tribute to those in uniform who have served in the war, including those who were wounded or those who paid the ultimate price. the president did not give his predecessor credit for the surge strategy. that is something that republicans did want to hear. >> as we do, i'm mindful that the iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. here, too, it's time to turn the
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page. this afternoon i spoke to former president george w. bush. it's well known that he and i disagreed about the war from its outset. yet no one can doubt president bush's support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security. >> so throughout the 7 1/2-year conflict, a lot of soldiers came from ft. campbell. >> many of them were there, this is the home to the 101st airborne division. better known to some people as the screaming eagles. the it's the only air assault division in the world. >> that's right. those soldiers are currently doing a lot of the heavy lifting that's going on in afghanistan right now. for more we bring in our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's at the home of the screaming eagles this morning. hey, barbara. >> reporter: good morning to both of you. we are here at ft. campbell, kentucky, the base stirring to life this morning. pt exercises going on hyped me. people coming to work. but you know, the screaming eagles did three very heavy combat tours in iraq.
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they lost almost 200 troops in the iraq war over the years. and now already of course as you mentioned, they are in the lead in eastern afghanistan. again back in heavy combat. when we came here yesterday we saw some of the physical training going on. the obstacle courses, the repelling and troops still going through all of this training because there are some units here that are headed back to iraq one more time to be part of that support effort of the 50 tou troops over the next several months. we asked a soldier here who had been in iraq, who had been in combat whether he ever could have imagined the day of the iraqi forces taking over. >> i had confidence in my iraq counterparts. i had a good feeling that they were going to come through positively in the end. we sat beside them and trained with them for over 15 months so, sure. i mean, right, yeah, of course. i saw an end. there's always an end.
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>> reporter: we also talked to a number of women, wives, mothers, of some of the deployed troops, asking them how they felt about all of this. is it all really over? what we heard universally is no, of course it is not over, not for the military families who have had those serve. those who have paid the ultimate price, either in possibly having their soldiers killed in action or being seriously wounded. this now, the iraq war, is part of the imprint here at ft. campbell, this is now part of the history of the 101st airborne, part of their history forever. ali? kiran? >> thank you, barbara. we'll check in with you again later on. >> the official ceremony marking this transfer is set to take place in just 20 minutes. both vice president biden, as well as defense chief robert gates are in iraq and they'll be there for the handover ceremony. we'll bring it to you live. one of the stories we continue to cover here on cnn is what's going on in pakistan. floodwaters are starting to
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recede from making that situation seem less urgent but it is not. in fact, the threat of dehydration and disease particularly with children is a major, major issue. they don't have access to clean water. what do flood survivors do now? our man dr. sanjay gupta is live from pakistan coming up next.
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welcome back to the most news in the morning. in pakistan we've been talking about the devastation there in the wake of the flooding. now there is the threat of the water borne diseases that are quickly taking over many areas. people that are living in tent cities or in some cases far worse. >> this is terrible. because there's already some sense that maybe this didn't have the sur againurgency that other things did. more than 17 million people have been affected by the flooding in total because this thing went the entire length of pakistan. sanjay gupta is live in pakistan. sanjay, good morning. what are you learning there? >> reporter: well, it's exactly as you guys are thinking. you have a refugee camp sort of like the one that i'm at now, very, very crowded, very tough to get basic supplies.
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if anything, and then somebody gets sick. what do you do? we wanted to follow along one family confronted with that exact situation and see what happened to them. take a look. in baby is now getting something millions across pakistan cannot -- medical care. it is amazing, because up until a couple of days ago, his life looked like this. then he got sick. very sick. a parent's love for their son took over. knowing he would die, they took a gamble, left everything they had behind and just started moving, somewhere. anywhere. you've probably never seen a line like this had before but this is a line for people waiting to get into the hospital. see garbage all around the place. they stay here all day long. waiting. a lot of people have infectious diseases that are associated with drinking contaminated water. it's what we've been talking about. this is a diarrheal treatment
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center specifically for children. this baby finally made it inside. your town is completely covered in water. he's been sick for some time. saying he was sick even before the flood and just became much worse during the flooding. 3 years old. weighs just 10 pounds. he's so maul. for comparison i have a 3-year-old daughter. she weighs closer to 30 pounds. and the boy is is so fragile. young children have weaker immune systems, becoming more easily dehydrated. like millions of people around the country, he didn't have a choice when he got thirsty. killer water. or none at all. imagine drinking that. i've covered so many natural disasters. there's always fear of a second wave of disease. but access to clean water helped control that risk after the haiti quake. in pakistan though, the second
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wave, it's already here. >> it is so hard to see these little kids so sick on these dusty, dirty tables. ivs hanging. this baby is so small, all you see is her little foot hanging out with an iv again. another child here. these children are sick. this is a diarrheal treatment center to take care of them. some of these children have come from a flood. some of them are just citizens of pakistan, dealing with these issues on a pretty regular basis. killer water. just consider the impact. already a million people with crippling diarrhea and respiratory infections, malaria, 65,000 cases. the world health organization projecting hundreds of thousands of patients with cholera, dysentery and typhoid. pakistan could literally be held hostage by killer water. and all of this disproportionately affecting pakistan's next generation, like the little 3-year-old boy.
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you can check little things for see how dehydrated they are. push on the tips of their fingers and blood doesn't really come back very quickly. so dehydrated. a very weak pulse as well. his poor little mouth is so dry. but he's in the right place. he's one of the lucky ones. such a cute little boy there. i'll tell you, a lot of people are throwing numbers around, ali and kiran. 1,600 or around that. people taught about the death toll. the reality is those numbers are pretty meaningless right now because of what's happening here. there are millions of people drinking that contaminated water. and as a result they are going to see diseases. they're starting to take care of some. as you saw there. but it is going to be challenging and it is going to last a long time, into the future, to be able to control this. >> sanjay, you can't help but be touched. everybody here is just shaking their heads for that little boy. is he going to be okay? is he going to get treatment, an iv? is he going to be able to
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survive this? >> he is. he's going to be a success story. i felt the same way that you did, kiran. i will tell you that the treatment can be pretty basic. iv fluids, as you mentioned. supportive care. getting him some nutrition so he can boost his immune system. in some cases antibiotics. but if you look at camps like the one over here behind me, bringing some of those medical resources to the camps as opp e opposed to having the patients get on those crowded buses and go to the hospitals is going to be necessary in the weeks and months to come because obviously hundreds of thousands of people here and just a few hospitals in the areas like this so it is going to be hard to meet the demand. >> sanjay, we'll continue to follow this. this is a remarkable story. we're glad you're there because this has really been a story that's been hard to get the world's attention on. once those floodwaters start receding, it almost seems like the interest dips. this is the important part. you always point this out, that it's after these things where the water supply becomes an
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issue and hygiene becomes an issue that more people can die now than before. >> that's right. you're absolutely right. i feel like i can't say it enough. but you talk about the medical impact of this and the second wave. i haven't seen it. quite to the extent that we're seeing it here in pakistan so i'm glad you pointed that out. >> sanjay gupta, thanks very much in pakistan. if you want to find out how to help, head not special section of our website, impact your world. the address is >> we had a reporter on last week, in some cases she said it is as simple as getting water purification tablets. they cost pennies. it is a matter of getting resources out to the people. that's still proving to be a huge logistical problem for pakistan. >> it is a hard land to go through. that river flooded from the top to the bottom. it is like taking the mississippi from the canadian border all the way to new orleans. that's the length and then out ten miles. that is remarkable flooding in a
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hard-terrain country. >> good job, sanjay, bringing this to everybody's attention. we're tracking hurricane earl here at home, expected to sideswipe the east coast bringing dangerous waters and winds as it passes. rob marciano is tracking all of this for us. we'll check in with him when we come back from a quick break. 47 minutes after the hour.
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that's a pretty picture this morning. very unique. >> a beautiful city. i love charleston. it is worth it. it is a unique spot in america. >> what did you do, take the express bus there or you went by yourself? >> i actually went to savannah on the cnn express. charleston was my own trip. 72 degrees in charleston. mostly sunny going up to 9 degre -- the region where hurricane earl can have some i am partly cloudy on it. welcome back to the most news of the morning. hurricane earl bearing on down on the east coast. north carolina is bracing for a -- bracing for that to be affected by hurricane earl. we are not quite sure exactly what it will do around there. people are being warned to be prepared to stay in their home with enough food, water, and supplies to get by for a few days. >> right now earl is a powerful category 3. 125-mile-an-hour winds. bringing dangerous rip currents,
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keeping swimmers out of the water. during labor day -- throwing vacation plans up in the air. just update us on the track. is this sideswipe, direct hit? what are we looking at? the models are still showing us different things. >> we are certainly hoping for a complete turn away but that may very well not happen. if anything, the track has been shifting a little further to the west as we go through the past couple of days. it is a little more daunting. little bit more ominous now than it has since the whole ordeal started. the only difference is we are now at a category 3 versus 4. that's like saying i would rather get hit with a mac truck versus freight train. it will approach the coastline of the carolinas late tomorrow night and into early friday and then maybe even new england coastline, too.
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everybody from north carolina, south carolina border, all the way up to maine, is -- on watch now. and needs to be taking steps to prepare for potential impact of a make or landfall hurricane. there you see the forecast track. regardless of where this thing comes ashore and doesn't come ashore, it is already churning up the waters. how was hurricane danielle. which was hundreds of miles away and weaker storm. over the weekend, we had hundreds of water rescues for people swept out to sea through rip currents. regardless of where earl goes, this weekend up and down the east coast, lifeguards will have their hands full. looks relatively safe out there. but you are pulling people out of the water. >> gorgeous day today. we came out with hoping we wouldn't have to put the red flags up. within the first five minutes on the sands and made one rescue already. surf started to pick up and started to see intermittent large swells come in. so we put the red flags back up and went to waist-deep
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restriction for the day. and we still had 15, 16 rescues with about 65 victims brought in. >> they were trying to ride the waves. it took us further out. my wife was like we are not making any progress. next thing we knew we saw the lifeguards coming up. wasn't actually scared until the lifeguards got up and we were trying to get us in. there were two of them and two of us. we were still getting pulled out. >> as we saw on saturday, when we went from high tide into a low tide situation, the tide was going out, that water sucking out just pulled and pulled and pulled. that was danielle on the other side of bermuda. this is earl stronger, stronger, than danielle and heck of a lot closer. we are going to have to be on our game this week. >> they may have to be on their game with much more than just plucking people out of the water. this storm is forecast to get
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closer than we originally anticipated. and talking to people that are down here, you know, lot of them on vacation, of course, enjoying the last bits of summer. not one of them terribly concerned about this storm. maybe they should be. a little bit of complacency here. it has been a while since this region has seen a direct hit from a big storm. so maybe a little bit of hurricane amnesia. that's never a good thing. here is the satellite of this thing again. and it has weakened just a little bit. i really don't want to mention that because let's just preend this is a category 3 major hurricane from the beginning and it was never a category 4. it is likely going to come either onshore or brush nearly -- very near the coastline as a major hurricane and then maybe up towards the new england coastline as well. so it will be churning up the waters, no doubt about that. there will be beach erosion at the very least. but there will be probably some damaging wind. the only optimism i see with this is that it is unlikely that
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any of the u.s. coastline will be on the bad side of this storm or right side of the storm. meaning it won't come inland and have people that are on the eastern flank of this or the northeastern quadrant of the storm which historically typically can the strongest part. that's the optimism we are holding on to right now. i anticipate hurricane warnings posted by the national hurricane center later today. probably some more evacuations along the north carolina coastline later this afternoon and this evening. >> we were just showing pictures of charleston, south carolina, and they are out of the area of danger? >> they are as far as getting a direct impact or direct hit from this thing. everybody from charleston all the way down to miami, all the way up to maine, they were affected by danielle over the weekend as far as dangerous rip currents go. and that was a much smaller storm, much further away. everybody up and down the east coast is going to be affected in some way by earl. >> you also mentioned that the tropical storm forced winds extend -- did you say 200 miles
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out? >> yes. this is a big storm. tropical storm force winds extend 200 miles out. the hurricane force winds extend 70 miles out. now, most -- that's mostly on the right side of the storm. but still if this thing comes within 30, 40 miles of the shore, you are going to see impacts of a major hurricane on shore. that's the big concern right now. certainly scary proposition in my eyes. >> thank you very much, sir. we will keep on checking in on this, obviously, as the day goes on and for the next couple of days. rob marciano in virginia beach. we are getting ready for this transition. this is an historic day, historic moment in the war in iraq. >> official handover. >> official handover. >> of power, of -- the military mission for the most part from the united states to iraq. the iraqi government. we are going to be talking more about it. you see live right there this is vice president joe biden.
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he is in iraq and marking the transition of military power. we are going to get live coverage from the ceremony coming up. actually former hunting lodge of ousted dictator saddam hussein. >> lot of symbolism to that. it will be interesting to see how this goes on. we will bring you live coverage of this right here on "american morning." and the cast has been gathered. when the curtain rises. and the spotlight is yours. having a strong signal at your back... is like having invisible power everywhere. because in that moment... you're not there to take up space. you're there to fill the room. rule the air. verizon. right now, buy a blackberry smartphone and get a second one free. like the bold. only at verizon. host: could switching to geico realis a bird in the handre on worth 2 in the bush? appraiser: well you rarely see them in this good of shape. appraiser: for example the fingers are perfect.
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8:00 here on the east coast. wednesday, september 1st. glad you are here with us on this "american morning." >> let's take a look at live pictures. we are moments away from a handover ceremony where the united states will hand power in iraq, security, in iraq, to the iraqi government. this is at the palace, the former hunting lodge of saddam hussein. vice president biden will be there. he's going to hand over authority in iraq today. >> there will be pomp and circumstance mark thing momentum occasion. we have been getting reaction and feedback from many different areas that -- of the country and of the world. when you hear from chris lawrence who is still with the
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50,000 troops that will be in -- more advisory role. they don't see that much of a difference in the operations are going to be like. however, at the same time, symbolically, this is -- iraq is officially in charge. it has been a sovereign nation. but now the future of the political landscape of that country as well as the safety and security largely in the hands of the iraqi. >> the president calls it the end of combat operations. some people are calling it the end of the war but if it is the end of the war, it is a very unusual war where you leave with 50,000 of your troops left behind. we described them as being an aid and assist role to the iraqis. these are armed soldiers that will remain in harm's way. what does this mean? it is the symbolism enough to register a change in iraq, will this be the thing that's needed for iraq to take control of their own future? and for the poll tigs in iraq to take control of their own future. that's part of what we will look into now this morning. >> we want to let you know we are monitoring all of this and
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we have a great team assembled to give us insight on this. there are a lot of other store ee going on as well today. hurricane early bracing to at least skirt the north carolina/virginia border. heavy weather coming in. the storm is still rolling. and about 10025 miles an hour making it a category 3 hurricane. we don't know where it is going. once it does get near north carolina, virginia, what does it do next? part of the cone on uncertainty involves all of the east coast. rob marciano is tracking the storm for us. >> we are covering politics this morning. a big upset developing news overnight. senator lows a murkowski conceding the republican primary race to joe miller of political unknown, lawyer from fairbanks, alaska, who had the backing and support of the tea party. this makes candidate number five for the tea party movement that could be headed to the senate as we look to the general election. >> and the a.m. fix blog is up and running.
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join the conversation right now. go to we begin with what we were just talking about at the top of the hour. a day that is more than seven years in the making. the war in iraq, combat operations in iraq is over. does that mean the war is over? a ceremony. these are live pictures officially transferring command from the u.s. military to iraqi soldiers. set to start at camp victory in baghdad at any moment. >> as we have been talking about even the war is now over ostensibly. 50,000 u.s. soldiers are staying in iraq until the end of the year. all of this part of the pentagon's next mission in iraq. it is dubbed operation new dawn. during his prime time oval office address last night president obama gave credit both to u.s. forces as well as the iraqi people. >> because of our troops and civilians and because of the resilience of the iraqi people, iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny.
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even though many challenges remain. so tonight i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. operation iraqi freedom is over. the iraqi people now have lead responsibility to the security of their country. >> during this handover ceremony we are going to be taking live in just a few moments, we are expecting to hear from vice president joe biden as well as defense chief robert gates. the man taking over command of operation new dawn, newly promoted general lloyd austin. >> chris lawrence is on the ground in the iraqi capital. he joins us now with the latest from camp victory. chris, this is a question we have got that -- with -- i think all americans and people around the world want to know. what changes after this handover ceremony. >> it is partly just ceremonial. it is also significant as well. ceremonial in the sense that the
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new mission of assisting, training, being in the background and u.s. troops have been doing that for several months now. they haven't been out on active combat in quite a while. now that doesn't mane that this doesn't mean a lot. you know, earlier today, here in iraq, the defense secretary robert gates was asked does this mean we are still at war here? he said no. we are not. simple statement. it means a lot to a lot of the troops i have been speaking with over the past few days. a few of them on their fourth deployment here. that means over the last seven years, they have spent the majority of their lives here in iraq. they have seen a lot of friends, fellow soldiers, fellow marines, killed, wounded here. they are invested in what happens to iraq. yes, for them, in that context, today is very significant. >> you know, we are talking about the level troops now. 50,000 troops. they are left there. you know, there are questions about exactly what their role is
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even though we know what it is on paper. what's happening at the ground level and -- how significant is the danger they are potentially in? >> good question. in the past, it was the u.s. force, american troops rolling out of the wire, fully loaded. going into compounds, kicking down doors, conducting active raids. now -- at that point the iraqis were in the background. now everything has been flip-flopped. the iraqis planning the raids and iraqis leading the missions and the americans are still there. but they are more coaching and advising and so say in iraqi troop decides to go raid a particular compound, they ask the americans to provide air support. americans would roll out helicopter support and probably two to three american humvees who would help coordinate both the air support and give them certain technology like real-time video so that the iraqi commander could see exactly what is happening with
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his troops and the americans could advise as the mission is taking place. >> chris, thanks very much. we will be checking back in with you shortly. we will be going live to that event as it gets under way. chris lawrence at camp victory in baghdad. hiv is being made this morning in baghdad. defense secretary gates, vice president biden, and they are attending the formal change of command ceremony that you are looking at right there in iraq. >> yes. live event now taking place. marking the official end of the america's combat mission in iraq. and as we wait for the ceremony to get under way we want to bring in our expert panel, the former nato supreme allied commander as well as bobby goshen. he is deputy editor at "time" magazine. from washington, kevin pollack, director of the center for middle east policy at the brookings institution. great to have all of you with us this morning. i want to start with you, general. there are a lot of questions being asked right now. what exactly this handover means for the soldiers and the commanders of u.s. forces that are still in iraq?
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>> well, this has been three years in the making. we have been building towards this for three years. the challenge is -- i am concerned about the -- the combat mission is over. i am afraid that what happens when the first american soldier gets killed in a week or two weeks, it is still a war zone. and we have to understand that there's still dangers out there that have to happen. but the iraqis now are in the lead. we are more in a supporting role. but the iraqis now will take the lead. and that's been transferred from where we were before. i think that you are going to see more of an iraqi face on this. but it is going to be a very difficult period but the american troops are still in a war zone. >> ken pollack, at this point while the iraqi military is taking over, there is a disproportionate wait for iraqi politicians to take over? they are saying where is our
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government? we had an election and they haven't been able to form a government, new government in iraq. would it help if the iraqi was get on with forming a government and actually taking on the responsibility of governing? would that start to alleviate the violence that their forces and american troops will be facing? >> i think put your finger on the critical issue moving forward which is the fact that right now iraq is locked in a political impasse. they can't get out of it. this is something the obama administration is trying very much to avoid. one of the reasons they set this transition, august, iraqi election schedule for the prior march is the expectation by this point in time iraq would actually have a government. obviously it is very problematic. >> i'm going to interrupt you. we are going to take this live. official party is walking in. you can see u.s. troops now, u.s. officers saluting. we are about to watch the party enter the hall at camp victory which, by the way, is where this is going to take -- this handover will take place. representing the united states,
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vice president joe biden's been at the forefront of the issues confronting iraq. he's going to be there handing over authority to the iraqis. this morning to iraqi forces. there will be a new general taking over as well. let's listen in. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the posting of the colors.
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colonel michael linke.
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♪ ♪
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"the star spangled banner playing ] ♪
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>> again, we are dipping in and out of the ceremony here as we are about to hear an invocation from colonel limke. i want to ask bobby who spent five years in baghdad covering the story as "time's" bureau chief, a little bit of a reality check for us. what is being left behind? the official handover take place. what shape is iraq in now? >> iraq is a lot better than it was two, three years ago when it was in the middle of a sectarian war. but things have gotten considerably worse in the last few months. just last week, the -- al qaeda launched simultaneously bombing operations in 13 different eye jackie cities. simultaneously one day. they have never done that in seven years. which would suggest to me that they are mounting a surge of their own.
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they are announcing to the iraqi people americans may be leaving. we are still here. we can hit you where we want and when we want. so it is -- it is a sobering real check for both the troops who are leaving, troops who have been left behind but most of all to the iraqi. >> general, along those lines, a lot of people said that the fact that we were there is what drew out a lot of insurgents. who is the target now? u.s. troops are taking a back seat and our presence is receding, what's the target? >> well, i think the targets are going to be what they have been. that -- the police, iraqi police, and military and the recruiting stations, and this is a very deliberate attempt to get anything that can bring stability in iraq to target them. i believe that americans will still be targeted, less visible but ieds, snipers, all of that, still is a threat to the americans. the iraqis now have got to take
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the lead and that is going to be the -- the -- issue can they succeed. i -- getting back to the -- i'm the military guy. it is the political side that is extremely important. >> you remember from day one of the invasion into iraq, i'm going ask ken pollack this, too. day one, a question about text it strategy, have we learned -- what have we learned from this thing about exit strategies that they have to be political? maybe nation building exercises are a little big for us to chew off sometimes? >> i think that's the critical issue here. the bush administration went into the war in iraq, believing the hard part was the invasion. what came after was ultimately going to be easy. would be able to turn i over to a bunch of iraqis. we could leave. and, of course, that was nonsense at the time. and i think anybody knew anything about iraq and knew anything about the operations knew it was nonsense at the time. but we have now had seven years of very painful experience. making it clear that if you are going to take on this kind of an operation, the hard part is
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really the reconstruction. if you are not ready to do the reconstruction, as you look into invest everything that's necessary, you shouldn't do the invasion at all. >> general, you are nodding your head. >> absolutely. i have been through a few of these. it is -- not just the initial entry or war fight. it is what happens with civil agencies and ngos, how to bring them in, build capacity, we did not plan for that. the initial part of this war. that was a mistake. and that's what is trying to be corrected mao and if we are going to have success in this next phase, it is those agencies, civil agencies, state department, that build capacity in the government, going to determine whether at the end of all of this, not the exit strategy, but the end state whether that's successful. >> let's tune in for the vice president. he is just starting to speak. >> i can't but help think of the irony that we are here today, occupying a palace for a noble reason that was once occupied by saddam hussein.
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secretary gates, admiral mullen, gener ambassador jeffrey, our distinguished and honored iraqi leaders and military, it is an honor to be with you today. it is an honor to be joined by such a distinguished grurp of americans and iraqi commanders and civilian leaders. bound together, i might add, by -- as a nation, we are now bound together as well. by years of shared struggle and significant sacrifice. in the predawn hours of march 20, 2003, columns of coalition troops set off across the desert and marsh lands from kuwait en route to baghdad. last week, after 7 1/2 years, that tested our metal like no conflict in recent american history, the last of our combat units followed that same dusty
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highway out of iraq on their way home. as president obama declared in the oval office last night united states has now ended our combat mission in iraq. iraqi troops are taking lead responsibility for their country's security. we have kept a promise, a promise made to the american people and to the people of iraq by drawing down our forces to roughly 50,000. and we are on track through all of our troops by the end of next year according to the agreement signed by president bush made with the iraqi government. operation iraqi freedom is over. but american engagement with iraq will continue, with the mission that begins the day operation new dawn. as the name suggests, this ceremony not only marked the change of command but the start
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of a different chapter in the relationship with iraq. remaining troops, i might add, as combat ready, if need be as any in our military will advise and assist iraqi forces, support, partner, counter terrorism operations and protect our military and civilian personnel as well as our infrastructure. we are ramping up our civilian and dip moatic efforts, strengthen and iraqi sovereignty and stability, and self-reliance at the very time we are drawing down combat forces. our goal is not just a physically secure iraq but an economically prosperous and stable one as well. with our iraqi partners, our hope is to be able to enhance the ties of trade in commerce and increase our cultural and
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educational exchanges, and open consulates in basra and all to ensure that our engagements spans the breadth and length of this country. our diplomats will you important iraq's efforts to build strong tie was thab theirors and while working through the remaining obligations at the united nations. here in baghdad, those efforts will be led by an outstanding ambassador who may be new to this particular job but certainly not new to the region nor to this country. his knowledge and commitment run deep. they go back to his earlier service in the bush administration as deputy national security adviser and as well as at boynt the dcm right here in baghdad. he is backed by an extraordinary team of foreign service professionals and civilian
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experts for moving to the forefront of our effort now. they have always been engaged but now they are moving to the forefront. people like aaron eddie, former peace corps volunteer, ecuador, who serves outside the wire, public diplomacy officer on reconstruction team in kirkuk, madeleine kiko-excuse me, chico, who became an american citizen after her family fled iraq three decades ago and has now chosen to return in 2008 to work with the ministry of justice here in iraq on property rights and rule of law. or dave butsner, 27-year veteran of the oregon police force, who has since then trained law enforcement officers in kosovo and jordan and yemen. who now advises the iraqi interior minister. along with our military and diplomats and civilians in iraq,
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we have -- they have borne the burden of lengthy deployment, like you in the military, missing anniversaries, holidays, birth of children, and the loss of loved ones. this change of mission to state the obvious would never have been possible without the resolve and tremendous sacrifice of our military, finest of iraqi friends will forgive us, finest fighting force in the world and finest fighting force that ever has existed. i do not believe that as hyperbole. that's a large part because it has been led by such a significant group of men and women over the last two decades. i want to thank secretary gates for his unique willingness to serve two presidents of different parties with differing
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views and testimony to bob's patriotism and his commitment to service and above all, his determination to see this effort through. he deserves your applause. [ applause ] excuse the personal reference as we say in the senate, this is one good man. one good man. we also have been blessed by the wisdom and steady hand, admiral mike mullen. the leadership of general david petraeus who might add is still serving this country in a way that is beyond what we should ask of anyone. i shouldn't joke about this. i visited him in florida and before he headed off and hay said just as i was getting -- finally getting to live like the air force, you are asking me to
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move. it was a lovely place. we owe his wife and family as well. also by general jim maddux, taken his command. you mo, and on -- his last day of his command, i would like to especially thank general ray odierno. this man is mop only a warrior but diplomat in the best american tradition. i want to thank him for his i can exceptional -- i'm not exaggerating. exceptional service for more than four years leading forces here and working closely to iraqi political leaders. many of them sitting here today. i think they would all acknowledge they have faith and trust in this man. general, four years and five months is an extraordinary sacrifice for both you and your family. i can only imagine, as a matter
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of fact i know, how joyous your homecoming will be, you richly deserve it. by the way, you olin did a big. really, really big. and i would be remiss if i did not mention the sacrifices that the general has made like many of you. i would be remiss if i did not recognize his son, captain tony odierno who made great sacrifice in iraq on be half of his country. awarded the purple heart, bronze star, v for valor. he works for the new york yankees and i imagine you are getting home to see a couple of games, i imagine. i'm confident as well that general austin, who has already served vallianly in iraq and beyond, he will continue this proud legacy. we are extremely fortunate to have you take command, general, and i look forward to working with you and i know, again, you
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know many of the iraqi political leaders here and their commanding generals and this is going to be a seamless transition. our fighting men and women were given a mission in iraq that was as complicated as any in our history. an assignment that proved as was taught, war is the realm of uncertainty. troops steeped in military doctrine with were asked to deal with challenges ranging from currency exchange to trash collection. toppling a tie ran became a grinding struggle against violenttremisextremism. empty roads became death traps. suicide became a devastating weapon. split-second decisions by young american military women and men that could save a life of a
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comrade or shed the blood of innocent. and enemies like al qaeda in iraq waged unspeakable violence against iraqi civilians in an attempt to foster hatred and communities that worship the exact same god. thus far, they have failed. iraqi people to their great credit rejected the ugly face of violence and cast their lot as well as their ballots for a better future. so today while the threat, tragic reality, further bloodshed remains, violence has reached the lowest point since 2003 when we arrived here. shortly after we arrived here. and a great deal of credit goes to the iraqi security force for more than 650,000 strong, including highly trained special operation forces.
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who are increasingly ready to defend fellow citizens. in recent months, the iraqi military secured an election, killed or captured most of al qaeda in iraq, most of their leaders, and made significant in-roads against other terrorist groups. because of their confidence we have over the past year and it has been over the past year, the general will tell you and you all know, been able to transfer thousands of square miles of territory and hundreds of bases to iraqi control. perhaps the most important develop many of all is in the aftermath of a second national election, iraqi leaders are sitting down to settle the difference between negotiation and not through violence. another way of putting it is, as my staff kids me for saying, politics has broken out in iraq. the fact no single party of coalition got i anywhere near
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the clear majority would make forming a government parliamentary system difficult under any circumstances. decade after a decade of dictatorship in war, it is even more daunting task here in iraq. unlike after the last election, however, a caretaker government is providing security to basic services and preventing a dangerous power vacuum from erupting. but that is not a durable solution to the many challenges and significant opportunities iraq faces. the iraqi people voted in large numbers across communities. if you don't mind, they expect a government that reflect it is result of the votes they cast. that's going to require iraqi politicians to place the national interest above their own. difficult thing in any country including ours.
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it is not our place to tell the iraqis who should lead. but i strongly urge them to max the courage of their citizens have shown by bringing this process to a close and forming a governor. i trust they will do so soon. since war is human endeavor, its contours can never be fully drawning with numbers. the sheer scope of our commitment to the iraqi people bears some reflection. more than a million american service members have deployed here since the conflict began. and i am in awe of their accomplishments and their significant sacrifices including all of you sitting before me today. this is particularly true for more than 30,000 troops wounded in action. over 4,048 fallen angels along
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with others of the coalition. it is no secret that this war has divided americans but they have never shrunk from a united support for an extraordinary united states military for extraordinary service of our troops. as president obama said last night, now is the time to put these differences behind us and come together to meet the many challenges that remain and facing at home. today is also an important acknowledge many. it is important to acknowledge the magnitude of the iraqi loss necessary this conflict. tens of thousands security forces and innocent civilians have been killed. p times that number have been wounded and displaced. i pray that all of those scarred by this war in iraq come to know
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the bomb of lasting peace. i truly believe that their darkest days are now behind them. they have such a gray opportunity as they step up to it. after all the iraqis endured, we understand their deeply fell desire to control their own lives and determine their own fate and maintain their own security. that's why we kept president bush's commitment to withdraw our forces from iraqi cities last summer. why president obama has now kept his promise, made one month after he took office, and to end our combat mission and draw down to a force in 50,000. and why we will make good on our agreement with the iraqis to remove all our forces by the end of next year. we gather today in the capital that once boasted the planet's greatest assemblage of
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universities, hospitals, and museums. a cultural beacon whose centerpiece was a grand intellectual bizarre known literally as the house of wisdom. in modern times, iraq faced hardship most nations can not fathom. but it is blessed to vast national bounty and natural resources and the wisdom of the ages lives on in the people here in iraq and educated, adaptive, above all resilient people. this natural wealth are the tools that can now forge a secure and prosperous future for the people of iraq. god willing, you are on the path to fulfill that promise again. we are proud to be your partner. thank you all. may god bless you all. and may god protect our troops.
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>> we heard from vice president joe biden. speaking about the handover, speaking about the troop withdrawal. >> he reiterated, by the end of 2011 lit happen. you have to wonder what it is going the look like when that happens. at the end of 2011. it is less than a year and a half away some we have with us ken pollack as well as general george and bobby gosh. one of things you noted you didn't see many iraqi faces. the president thanked iraq's leaders. where was the prime minister? where was the president? >> iraqi president doesn't seem to be there. iraqi prime minister does not seem to be there. that tells you something. what we regard here as a very important moment, the american vice president is there, the iraqi top leadership don't seem to be part of the ceremony at all. that's quite telling. all the american blood, all this american treasure that has gone into creating this moment and the top iraqi politicians don't
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want to be a part of it. >> they also don't have -- caretaker government. vice president biden said it again. president obama said it last night. they have not been able to six months after a vote form a government in iraq. and general, you were saying while we were listening to this that there is a real fear they have to get this done by the end of next year because those 50,000 tloops are come you on. what does iraq look like after all of this? >> what will it look like in a year and three, four months? i think that it is very important that this sunni, shia and kurds and the kurds, i think, play a dom in an role there, can play a role here in breaking this impasse. it needs to be done. so that the tough part of build thing country up again, not just militarily, but the diplomatically and all the services that need to come in, take place and in the next year to year and a half. that's crucial. >> i want to ask ken pollack
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about what -- the long-term impact is. not only of what is going on in iraq but also what this means for the future of our will to engage in wars and in long wars as we have seen with both iraq and afghanistan and the war where the american public, where does this leave us moving forward in terms of any type of military action in the interests of national security? >> well, i think that -- in the american leader is going to recognize that he will have a very hard time, she will have a very hard time convincing the american people there's such a thing as a quick and easy war. what we have learned in iraq and afghanistan is that wars are often easy to get into and very difficult to get out. i think that given the economic problems which -- the president and in the speech billed to be about iraq spent quite a bit of time talking about the economy and economic issues facing americans. at this moment in time it seems highly unlikely the american people will be looking for another war. that's obviously very important
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given the very a.m. ambitious foreign policy agenda that the president has before him. he will have to tackle a whole lot of hard issues, let's not forget, including iran and will be in circumstances with the american people disposed to using military force in those circumstances. >> we are watching the changes of the official handover now. this is the changing of the colors taking place right now. this is the transfer of power and historic moment for america. this is the transfer of power from the u.s. military control of iraq to the iraqis. it is happening now. despite the fact that bobby gosh says that we do not seem to see an overwhelming iraqi presence there. there's a new american general who is taking over. command from ray odierno. the end of combat operations being signified by what you are looking at right now. >> symbolic transfer of power taking place right before our
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eyes. it is important to remember the more than 4,400 american troops that have died in iraq since the march 2003 invasion. as well as several hundred thousand by many stints could be more iraqi civilians as well. and also, of course, as we know, by no means, means a complete end to american troop presence and have -- american rooms will still have the rye to defend themselves and military facilities. these are actions that could still bring american troops into harm's way. again, as we heard reiterated by the vice president just moments ago, the u.s. is committed still to removing all forces by the end of 2011. i want to ask general t general about that statement once again from vice president biden and the president also talking about it last night. usually there is a little bit more ambiguity about conditions on the ground and about steps in the process before the definitive word we are at. this is almost in reverse. why? >> well, i -- the president was
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trying to make his point as was vice president biden. i think it is incumbent now upon the senior military leadership as we get closer to those dates, that the -- senior military leadership clear military advice if the situation deteriorates or if the conditions aren't right, they have an obligation to come back and not fight the problem but say here are the risks involved. if we do this at the end of 2011, here are the risks. and the political leadership needs to weigh those risks. and say what do we do now? >> am i hearing you say that you think it is worth putting on the table not leaving by tend of 2011? >> if the conditions aren't there, if we are not meeting that in stay we talked about, if it is in our interests that we need to stay, then the commanders need to say that. they need to weigh those risks in terms of in a decision to pull out the political leadership. that's how we operate in the
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military. we don't feet the problem but lay those risks on the table. that's our job. >> defense secretary robert gates is speaking right now. i want to ask a quick question. bobby, you were in iraq long time. is iraq and are iraqis better off today than they were when the u.s. invasion took place? >> in the simple sense, yes, they are. all the gains that were taking place in the last seven years are very, very fragile. iraqis are very keenly aware of that. they know all this effort that's gone to bringing them to this place could all be in vain if in the next year or two all of the al qaeda and al qaeda linked elements come back if they don't get to the political stability they need. they need -- if their political leadership doesn't step up to the plate. if i could add something to what the general said. there is one other timetable that we immediate to consider which is the iraqi timetable. iraqis may decide six months from now they want the u.s. to leave sooner. they may decide they want to ask the u.s. to stay longer.
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depending how the circumstances evolve. let's not assume this is all our schedule and this is all to the white house's agenda and white house's plan. there are other elements a work here that have -- the white house has no influence. >> polite cam handover. that's one of the facts of it. i just want to quickly ask ken pollack because we have him with us as well. when we talk about our iraqis better off, part of the shall did a argument to go into war was that we have to fight terror and become safer around the world. there's been some analysis of that that we have been reading in the papers. and on line over the last few days that say if that was our goal, that we failed. because there are more terrorists now and more radicalized because of our presence in iraq. >> i think the terrorism argument is the weakest argument for going into iraq.
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saddam hussein had no ties to al qaeda by and large. as far as what's happened, you know, we did see a spike in violence and iraq, al qaeda went into iraq and they had their heyday there. and they have also been handed a significant defeat. as for what happens going on in the future, i think that depends on the points bobby gosh was making. what happens in iraq? is iraq able to emerge as a stable and prosperous society. if it is, i think that that will be a very severe defeat for the forces of bin laden and islamic terrorism. people who are trying to say that what the americans are bringing pluralism and prosperity, western model can't possibly work in the arab world. on the other hand, if iraq falls back into civil war and you see recurrence of violence, the forces will be greatly multiplied. i think the jury as in so many things in iraq is still out. >> ken, thanks very much for joining us on this. we are going to con to follow what's going on in iraq. this handover ceremony is just about complete. >> and what's happening now is
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defense chief robert gates is speaking. we have our barbara starr monitoring that and we will check in with her. we will take a quick break. [ male announcer ] looks clean doesn't it. but look below the surface. your mouth is no different. brushing leaves teeth looking clean, but millions of plaque and gingivitis germs are left behind. a 30-second rinse with listerine® antiseptic cleans deeper. [ bomb! ] its unique penetrating formula destroys germs [ bomb! ] brushing leaves behind. [ exhales ] [ male announcer ] listerine®. clean deeper. get healthier™. and to strengthen kids' teeth 99% better than brushing alone, get listerine® smart rinse™.
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over a thousand people a day are switching to chevy. they like that vehicles like the 2010 malibu, traverse and silverado half-ton have each been named a consumers digest best buy. they like that chevy backs the quality with a one-hundred-thousand mile powertrain warranty. they're not just trading in, they're trading up. qualified lessees now get a low mileage lease on this malibu ls for around one ninety-nine a month. call for details. the switch begins at very recent poll. 29% of the respondents think the u.s. has achieved its stated goals in iraq. wow. with this transfer of military power in iraq this morning, u.s. troops know that their job is
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not over. 50,000 americans in uniform are staying in iraq. the plan is until the end of next year. >> tens of thousands more now fighting. america's other war. that's afghanistan. many of the soldiers from both of the war zones come home from the -- come from the home of the army's screaming eagles. ft. campbell, kentucky. that's where we find barbara starr. must be a surreal moment for you covering all of this. watching that handover, that official handover of power in iraq. >> reporter: you know, kiran, it really is. you know, years ago, standing in baghdad under very heavy armored protection of u.s. military security, i think it is a little hard to imagine that this day ever would, in fact, come. for u.s. soldiers, here at ft. campbell, kentucky, home of the 101st airborne division. they are still very much involved in both wars. really.
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we were on the training grounds yesterday, seeing troops getting ready go. they have done three combat tours in iraq here and they are sending more troops to be part of that 50,000 contingent of support troops that will remain in iraq through next year. 101st airborne involved in very heavy combat in eastern afghanistan and these guys here are still in the thick of it. we talked to some family members to see their feeling, wives, mothers of troops on deployment to see how they felt, whether they thought all of this signify it is iraq is really over. listen to what one lady had to say. >> i think the memorials and whatnot that are throughout posts will stand as testament to what was done, what we
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contributed to. and i don't think that will ever go away. >> never go away. that's really the mood you see here. this post, 101st airborne, lost nearly 200 troops in the iraq war. there are monuments such as the one behind me to the fallen, the wounded are here on post. almost anywhere you look. so this is a place that's paid very heavy price and for them, iraq now part of their history, part of their lives. >> thanks very much for your great coverage throughout this whole conflict. as we are agreeing on here, it is definitely not over despite the handover ceremony. barbara starr, ft. campbell. >> we like to get the final thoughts from our pan pell. we have the former nato commander. we were hearing from him, all of
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the people we are hearing from, you trained or worked under you years ago, including ray odierno and others. bobby gosh with us. five years as a baghdad brur chief. also from washington, kenneth pollack, the director from middle east policy at the brookings institution. i would like to just get all of your final thoughts as we saw that handover ceremony when where you think in the big picture this leaves our country as well as iraq. >> 101st in vietnam, i served there. those comments are very real to me. i would hope after having watched all of this that gives us an opportunity for a more strategic look at the middle east, they really understand with talks going on now, washington starting today and tomorrow on the palestinian/israeli issue, to really look at an opportunity here that really creates some sort of momentum in trying to
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bring some stability to this region which i think is very much in the interests of people in that region as well as in our own. that's from a much more strategic look, not just from a military look of what i think this can -- this opportunity can bring about. >> you say region meaning beyond iraq. >> much more beyond. >> palestine, lebanon, syria. iraq. afghanistan. bobby, your thoughts? >> you know, seven years ago president bush gave a speech. last night president obama gave a mission relinquish speech. iraq now is left largely to its own devices and the u.s. does not have that much influence over how iraq will evolve. i'm going back later this month to see the first steps of that evolution. my -- my worry is that the iraqi leadership both political and military is not yet ready for the challenges. i hope i'm wrong. if i'm correct, i hope that there will be 50 thousand remaining americans are able to
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help this country. >> it is interesting you said we don't have a lot of control over where iraq goes. kenneth pollack, i would like to ask you, how much influence will iran now have as to where iraq goes? >> well, i think we need to recognize that iraqis don't like iranians by and large and would like to limit the influence. what matters in iraq is what the iraqis do. it goes back to bobby ghosh wonderful points. if they emerge as a stable country iran's influence will be marginal and america's interests will be safe and secured by that. it is the only thing that will secure our interests. on the oprah hand, if iraq fall backsing into civil war as a result of the political problems bobby was talking about, first america's vial interests will be enormously threatened and it is going to create opportunities for iran and other problematic countries in the region to increase their influence and increase role throughout. >> kenneth pollack, great insight this morning. bobby ghosh as well. pleasure to have all of you with us. appreciate it.
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>> everybody keeps tweeting me. bobby ghosh is not my brother. i would love to have a brother that smart. good looking. all right. cnn is your hurricane headquarters. hurricane earl expected to sideswipe the east coast bringing dangerous waters as the storm passes. cnn is your hurricane headquarters. rob marciano is in charge next. fire was fire. and the first language, the language of chemistry, was universal and eloquent. and the unique ability of chemistry to change everything has never changed. it is still the hope of human history to come. it is still the bond in partial between the elements. hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and human. the lexus golden opportunity sales event. lease the 2010 is 250 for $349 a month for 36 months with $3,489 due at signing. see your lexus dealer.
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♪ welcome back to the most news of the morning. we are following a lot of stories this morning. domestically hurricane earl bearing down on the u.s. east coast. powerful storm packing 125-mile-an-hour winds, threatening the carolina coastline in particular. >> now mandatory evacuations have been ordered for north carolina's ocracoke island. it may swipe north carolina, eastern seaboard up to new england. cnn is your hurricane headquarters. rob marciano is tracking the developments and is in virginia beach. what's the situation? >> well, we are certainly hoping for a sideswipe. very well could be a direct
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landfall. sideswipe will be a good scenario or turning out to sea. 60 miles per hour. beginning to pick up speed. 125-mile-an-hour sustained winds. it is less than 800 miles from cape hatteras now. by the way, parts of the county, cape hatteras, mandatory evacuation for all visitors there. just announced in the last hour. there is your forecast track. expected to get very close, if not come over the outer banks of north carolina tomorrow night and into friday morning. and then scoot up the east coast and potentially hit parts of eastern new england. that part of the scenario hasn't changed. in anything, guys, we have seen this forecast track shift westward and westward and westward which is not what folks have been hoping for. the problem here that i have found is that there hasn't been a big storm here in several years. not since isabelle have they been pounded by a major storm. so that's the concern here. i suspect warnings will be posted later on today.

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